9:00 AM, 10th October 2012, About 10 years ago
John Blackwood has worked in the private rented sector for nearly 20 years and has extensive experience in advising both landlords and tenants on landlord and tenant relationships and advising both the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament on housing policy in the private rented sector in Scotland.
Widely recognised as the foremost expert on all aspects of the Scottish private rented sector, he is constantly in demand to train landlords and agents all over the country. John is Policy and Parliamentary Affairs director of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), managing director of the Gladstones group of letting agencies and chairman of Landlord Accreditation Scotland (LAS). John is regularly called upon to address local authority landlord forums and comment in the press on topical issues affecting letting.
LAS is a partnership between the Scottish Association of Landlords, Scottish Land and Estates and the Scottish Government with the aim of developing and delivering a national Landlord Accreditation Scheme for landlords and letting agents in Scotland.
The Scottish Association of Landlords is the professional body for Scotland’s landlords and letting agents. Established in 2001 and still run by landlords, SAL advises and supports members. They publish the acclaimed Landlord Focus magazine and run local events from Inverness to Dumfries.
We asked John, what do you perceive to be the main challenges facing the PRS in the next 5 years?
The main challenges for the PRS will be caused by the general economic and political situation in the UK. Benefit cuts to low income tenants will make it harder for landlords and letting agents to house people in this situation. However with little or no capacity in the social rented sector either it’s not easy to forecast any solution. Finance for further investment in their businesses remains a real concern to members with little hope of an improvement.
What opportunities do you envisage for the PRS in the next 5 years?
The opportunities for landlords arise from the same factors as the supply of housing is constrained, the rental market remains firm and rents will be stable or even rising.
Nobody would be safe to make a prediction for the next five years, after all who in mid 2007 foresaw the current economic situation.
With a new Housing Minister, Margaret Burgess MSP now in place, and a new private rented sector strategy being developed by the Scottish Government, we’ve learned over the years that change is never far away from our industry.
SAL will continue to lobby for the interests of our trade with Holyrood, Westminster and locally elected representatives. We’ll inform, assist and support members, equipping them with the essential knowledge. Promoting good practice will always be at the heart of everything we do. At SAL we’re up for the challenge.
Best practice and supporting our members in being good landlords is key to the very existence of SAL so naturally we welcome initiatives such as “The GOOD Landlords Campaign“.